0826-19 NY Times Crossword 26 Aug 19, Monday

Constructed by: Erik Agard
Edited by: Will Shortz

Today’s Theme: How’s Tricks?

Themed answers are phrases starting with a 3-letter B-word that’s repeated, and ending with an animal:

  • 18A Start of a nursery rhyme on a farm : BAA, BAA, BLACK SHEEP
  • 29A Bow-tie-wearing cub in Jellystone Park : BOO-BOO BEAR
  • 54A 1963 musical that was Dick Van Dyke’s film debut : BYE BYE BIRDIE

Read on, or jump to …
… a complete list of answers

Bill’s time: 4m 56s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

6 Protective wear for lobster eaters : BIBS

The word “bib” comes from the Latin “bibere” meaning “to drink”, as does our word “imbibe”. So, maybe a bib is less about spilling the food, and more about soaking up the booze …

10 Summa cum ___ : LAUDE

When an academic degree is awarded, a level of distinction can be noted depending on the degree of success achieved by the student. There are three types of honor, each with a Latin name:

  • cum laude: meaning “with honor” (literally “with praise”)
  • magna cum laude: meaning “with great honor”
  • summa cum laude: meaning “with highest honor”

16 Soothing ointment ingredient : ALOE

Aloe vera is a succulent plant that grows in relatively dry climates. The plants leaves are full of biologically-active compounds that have been studied extensively. Aloe vera has been used for centuries in herbal medicine, mainly for topical treatment of wounds.

17 Neighbor of Hertfordshire : ESSEX

Essex is a county in England that is referred to as one of the “home counties”. The home counties are those that surround the city of London, outside of London itself. “Home county” is not an official designation but has been in popular use since the 1800s. The list of home counties usually comprises Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Kent, Surrey, and Sussex.

18 Start of a nursery rhyme on a farm : BAA, BAA, BLACK SHEEP

The old English nursery rhyme “Baa, Baa, Black Sheep” is usually sung as:

Baa, baa, black sheep,
Have you any wool?
Yes, sir, yes, sir,
Three bags full;
One for the master,
And one for the dame,
And one for the little boy
Who lives down the lane.

The tune that accompanies the rhyme is a variant of the French melody “Ah! Vous dirai-je, Maman”, which we know best in English as the tune for “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”.

23 Indent key on a keyboard : TAB

Like most features on our computer keyboards, the tab key is a hangover from the days of typewriters. When using a typewriter, making entries into a table was very tedious, involving lots of tapping on the spacebar and backspace key. So, a lever was added to typewriters that allowed the operator to “jump” across the page to positions that could be set by hand. Later this was simplified to a tab key which could be depressed, causing the carriage to jump to the next tab stop in much the same way that the modern tab key works on a computer.

24 Sport with kicking and boxing, for short : MMA

Mixed martial arts (MMA) is a full-contact combat sport in which competitors use a variety of techniques from a variety of traditional combat sports and martial arts.

29 Bow-tie-wearing cub in Jellystone Park : BOO-BOO BEAR

Yogi Bear made his debut for Hanna-Barbera in 1958, on “The Huckleberry Hound Show” before he was given his own series. Do you remember that collar that Yogi wore around his neck? That was a little trick from the animators. By using the collar, for many frames all they had to do was redraw everything from the collar up, saving them lots and lots of time. Yogi and Boo-Boo lived in Jellystone Park, and made Ranger Smith’s life a misery.

37 Stitch’s human pal, in film : LILO

“Lilo & Stitch” was released by Disney in 2002. Compared to other Disney feature-length cartoons, “Lilo & Stitch” was relatively cheaply produced, using the voices of lesser-known actors. One interesting change had to take place in the storyline during production, when Lilo was meant to fly a Jumbo Jet through downtown Honolulu in one sequence. This was replaced with a sequence using a spaceship instead, as the producers were sensitive to public sentiment after the September 11 attacks.

38 Singer Minaj : NICKI

Nicki Minaj is a rapper from the New York borough of Queens who was born in Trinidad.

42 Cookie that’s 29% cream : OREO

There’s a smartphone app featuring the Oreo cookie. It’s a game in which one twists Oreo cookies apart, “licks” the cream from the center and then dunks the remainder of the cookie in a glass of milk.

45 ___ fides : BONA

“Bona fide(s)” translates from the Latin as “in good faith”, and is used to indicate honest intentions. It can also mean that something is authentic, like a piece of art that is represented in good faith as being genuine.

48 Skyline-obscuring pollution : SMOG

“Smog” is a portmanteau formed by melding “smoke” and “fog”. The term was first used to describe the air around London in the early 1900s. Several cities around the world have a reputation of being particularly smoggy. For example, the most smog-plagued city in Latin America is Mexico City, which is located in a highland “bowl” that traps industrial and vehicle pollution.

53 Palindromic kitchen brand : OXO

The OXO line of kitchen utensils and housewares is designed to be ergonomically superior to the average household tools. The intended user of OXO products is someone who doesn’t have the normal range of motion or strength in the hands e.g. someone suffering from arthritis.

54 1963 musical that was Dick Van Dyke’s film debut : BYE BYE BIRDIE

The iconic comedian, actor, singer and dancer Dick Van Dyke has been in the world of entertainment since the 1940s when he was a radio announcer with the US military. He really made a name for himself on television in his iconic sitcom “The Dick Van Dyke Show”. On the big screen, Van Dyke’s most famous roles were in “Bye Bye Birdie” (1963), “Mary Poppins” (1964) and “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” (1968).

61 Former attorney general Holder : ERIC

Eric Holder was the Attorney General of the United States from 2009 to 2015, the first African American to hold the position. Holder was close to President Obama during the presidential campaign. Holder was the campaign’s legal advisor and was also one of the three members on the Obama vice-presidential selection committee that recommended future Vice President Joe Biden.

62 Photo-sharing app, colloquially : INSTA

Instagram is a photo-sharing application, one that is extremely popular. Instagram was started in San Francisco in 2010. Facebook purchased Instagram two years later, paying $1 billion. The billion-dollar Instagram company had just 13 employees at the time of the sale …

71 Actress Thompson of “Sorry to Bother You” : TESSA

Tessa Thompson is an actress from Los Angeles who is known for playing the supporting role of Jackie Cook on the TV show “Veronica Mars”, and for playing student leader Diane Nash in the 2014 film “Selma”.

72 Bucks and does : DEER

A male deer is usually called a buck, and a female is a doe. However, the male red deer is usually referred to as a stag. The males of even larger species of deer are often called bulls, and females cows. In older English, male deer of over 5 years were called harts, and females of over 3 years were called hinds. The young of small species are known as fawns, and of larger species are called calves. All very confusing …

Down

1 Fearsome snake : COBRA

“Cobra” is the name given to a group of snakes, some of which are in different families. The term is reserved for those snakes that can expand their neck ribs to create a hood. The name “cobra” is an abbreviated form of “cobra de capello” which translates from Portuguese as “snake with hood”.

2 Nin of erotica : ANAIS

Anaïs Nin was a French author who was famous for the journals that she wrote for over sixty years from the age of 11 right up to her death. Nin also wrote highly regarded erotica and cited D. H. Lawrence as someone from whom she drew inspiration. Nin was married to banker and artist Hugh Parker Guiler in 1923. Decades later in 1955, Nin married former actor Rupert Pole, even though she was still married to Guiler. Nin and Pole had their marriage annulled in 1966, but just for legal reasons, and they continued to live together as husband and wife until Nin passed away in 1977.

9 Result of a religious schism : SECT

A schism is a split or a division, especially in a religion.

10 The “L” of L.G.B.T.Q. : LESBIAN

Lesbos is a Greek island in the northeast of the Aegean Sea. The Greek poet Sappho came from Lesbos, and she was a woman noted for her powerful emotional poems directed towards other females. It is because of the writings of Sappho from Lesbos that we have our word “lesbian”.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning (LGBTQ)

11 Volcanic detritus : ASH

Detritus is loose material that results from the process of erosion. The usage of the term has evolved to man any accumulated material or debris. “Detritus” is Latin for “a wearing away”.

20 “Citizen ___” : KANE

1941’s “Citizen Kane” was the first film made by Orson Welles, and is considered by many to be the finest movie ever made. It’s a remarkable achievement by Wells, as he played the lead and also produced and directed. Despite all the accolades for “Citizen Kane” over the decades, the movie was far from a commercial success in its early run and actually lost money at the box office.

32 Adjective after “Ye” in many a pub’s name : OLDE

The word “olde” wasn’t actually used much earlier than the 1920s. “Olde” was introduced to give a quaint antique feel to brand names, shop names etc. as in “Ye Olde Shoppe”.

34 Littlest bit : IOTA

Iota is the ninth letter in the Greek alphabet, and one that gave rise to our letters I and J. We use the word “iota” to portray something very small, as it is the smallest of all Greek letters.

35 ___ Kringle (Santa Claus) : KRIS

“Kris Kringle” (sometimes “Kriss Kringle”) is the name sometimes used here in North America for Santa Claus. “Kris Kringle” is an anglicised form of “Christkind”, the bringer of gifts in many other countries including Austria, the Czech Republic and parts of Germany. “Christkind” is German for “Christ-child”.

39 “How goes it?,” in Spanish : COMO ESTAS?

“Cómo estas?” is Spanish for “how are you?”

40 Fort ___, home of the U.S. Bullion Depository : KNOX

Fort Knox is actually a US Army base, but it lends its name to the adjacent facility that is more correctly called the United States Bullion Depository. Most of the US gold reserves are in “Fort Knox”, although it isn’t the biggest gold repository in the US. That honor goes to the vault under the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in Manhattan. Most of the gold stored in the New York vault belongs to foreign nations and banks.

41 “Othello” villain : IAGO

Iago is the schemer in Shakespeare’s “Othello”. He is a soldier who fought alongside Othello and feels hard done by, missing out on promotion. Iago hatches a plot designed to discredit his rival Cassio by insinuating that Cassio is having an affair with Desdemona, Othello’s wife.

44 Pinot ___ : NOIR

The Pinot noir wine grape variety takes its name from the French for “pine” and “black”. The grapes grow in tight clusters shaped like pine cones, and are very dark in color. The Pinot noir grape is most closely associated with Burgundy wines in France, although in recent years the popularity (and price) of California Pinot noir wine has soared after it featured so prominently in the wonderful, wonderful 2004 movie “Sideways”. Grab a bottle of Pinot, and go rent the movie …

50 One-named queen of Tejano music : SELENA

Singer Selena Quintanilla-Perez, known professionally simply as “Selena”, was murdered in 1995 by the president of her own fan club at the height of her career. In a 1997 biopic about Selena’s life, Jennifer Lopez played the title role. Selena had often been referred to as the “Queen of Tejano” during her career.

“Tejano” is the Spanish word for “Texan”. Tejano music is strongly influenced by Cajun culture, because of the proximity of Texas to Louisiana. The other strong influence came with immigrants from Poland and what is now the Czech Republic. These immigrants brought with them the waltz, polka … and the accordion.

55 Some spiritual advisers : YOGIS

A yogi is a practitioner of yoga.

57 Nonsense : BILGE

The bilge is lowest internal part of a ship. The water that collects in there is called bilge water. The term “bilge” is also used as slang for nonsense talk.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Groups of actors in plays : CASTS
6 Protective wear for lobster eaters : BIBS
10 Summa cum ___ : LAUDE
15 Outdo : ONE-UP
16 Soothing ointment ingredient : ALOE
17 Neighbor of Hertfordshire : ESSEX
18 Start of a nursery rhyme on a farm : BAA, BAA, BLACK SHEEP
21 Outer part of a crater : RIM
22 Feel sorry about : RUE
23 Indent key on a keyboard : TAB
24 Sport with kicking and boxing, for short : MMA
25 Claim without evidence : ASSERT
27 Superlatively kind : NICEST
29 Bow-tie-wearing cub in Jellystone Park : BOO-BOO BEAR
34 “You’re telling me!” : I KNOW!
37 Stitch’s human pal, in film : LILO
38 Singer Minaj : NICKI
42 Cookie that’s 29% cream : OREO
43 Pass along : SEND ON
45 ___ fides : BONA
46 Clock sound : TICK
47 Grow fond of : TAKE TO
48 Skyline-obscuring pollution : SMOG
49 Bring up in a Q. and A. : ASK
50 Spanish for “south” : SUR
51 Falsehood : LIE
53 Palindromic kitchen brand : OXO
54 1963 musical that was Dick Van Dyke’s film debut : BYE BYE BIRDIE
59 What dogs do when they’re hungry : DROOL
61 Former attorney general Holder : ERIC
62 Photo-sharing app, colloquially : INSTA
65 Place for driving lessons (the golf kind) : RANGE
66 The “sun” in sunny-side-up eggs : YOLK
67 N.B.A. phenom Jayson : TATUM
68 Didn’t venture out for dinner : ATE IN
69 Competitive advantage : EDGE
70 Put into law : ENACT
71 Actress Thompson of “Sorry to Bother You” : TESSA
72 Bucks and does : DEER
73 Students sit at them : DESKS

Down

1 Fearsome snake : COBRA
2 Nin of erotica : ANAIS
3 Bursting at the ___ : SEAMS
4 Bathroom fixture : TUB
5 Bird that “His eye is on,” in a hymn : SPARROW
6 Term of endearment : BABE
7 Sick : ILL
8 Snaky scarf : BOA
9 Result of a religious schism : SECT
10 The “L” of L.G.B.T.Q. : LESBIAN
11 Volcanic detritus : ASH
12 “I’m at your disposal” : USE ME
13 Judges to be : DEEMS
14 Person living abroad, informally : EXPAT
19 Modern prefix with correct : AUTO
20 “Citizen ___” : KANE
26 Virtual volume : E-BOOK
28 Places infants sleep : CRIBS
30 Having trouble seeing in the morning, perhaps : BLEARY-EYED
31 Sound from a piggery : OINK!
32 Adjective after “Ye” in many a pub’s name : OLDE
33 Suck-up : BOOTLICKER
34 Littlest bit : IOTA
35 ___ Kringle (Santa Claus) : KRIS
36 Pork dish of Southern cuisine : NECK BONES
39 “How goes it?,” in Spanish : COMO ESTAS?
40 Fort ___, home of the U.S. Bullion Depository : KNOX
41 “Othello” villain : IAGO
43 What’s left of a ticket after it’s been used : STUB
44 Pinot ___ : NOIR
50 One-named queen of Tejano music : SELENA
52 Made revisions to : EDITED
55 Some spiritual advisers : YOGIS
56 Gradually disappear, as support : ERODE
57 Nonsense : BILGE
58 Nonsensical : INANE
59 “Tarnation!” : DRAT!
60 Apt rhyme for “evaluate” : RATE
63 Hide, as shirttails, with “in” : TUCK
64 Quantities: Abbr. : AMTS

10 thoughts on “0826-19 NY Times Crossword 26 Aug 19, Monday”

  1. Very excellent puzzle. Totally liked it.

    I could not help but notice that this puzzle is not in the normal symmetry that is the usual traditional rule for crosswords. Nor can I find any particular reason that Erik Agard would have had to make it thus. I wonder if this might be a representation of the new generation of constructors taking over? Are they evolving and throwing out the old rules? Are we to expect more of this?

    I am not passing any judgment. If they change things then so be it. I am just musing.

    1. Dale –

      They do this from time to time. According to Wordplay, the NYT article about this puzzle, Erik Agard had to make the puzzle 15×16 so all the theme answers could be of a different length. I can only surmise from that blurb that he really wanted these entries and this size puzzle was the best way to accommodate them.

      Best –

      1. Thanks, Jeff. That does indeed explain a lot of things. I don’t have access to Wordplay so I really appreciate your passing on this additional information.

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